Whilst listening to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. I was astonished to hear that the government had to grant a tax-free status to the Olympics for it to be held here. Stratford, for any foreign national or company, was a grandiose duty-free zone with a zero percent tax rate. Millions of pounds have been funnelled into specially set up companies that provided services at the Olympics before being transferred to companies abroad. Tax rules designed as part of Britain’s bid include “a temporary exemption from UK Corporation Tax and Income Tax for certain non-resident companies”. This was a condition – a fait accompli – presented to the government by the International Olympic Committee. Highly paid executives and athletes, as well as the IOC, have lobbied for a clause that guaranteed that all winnings and profits would not be taxed.
The IOC has the nerve to lecture athletes about the need to keep the Olympics politics free, but kept conspicuously quiet about their scam concerning the tax-free imposition on their host country. Had the government not made the games a tax-free zone, the IOC would simply have gone elsewhere. What is particularly vile is the fact that the tax law was changed for this venue so that it included partner organisations such as McDonald’s and Visa. Obviously it wasn’t enough that they had been awarded monopoly deals in their trading areas – McDonald’s in food and Visa on ticket sales and venue point-of-sale outlets. These greedy multinationals have sucked a fortune from the money the British public invested in the games and ensured that their bloated gains were paid tax-free!
HMRC said before the games commenced “For the purpose of this exemption a London 2012 Partner is an organisation (known as a Commercial Delivery Partner) that is supplying services to LOCOG in return for the right to market and advertise themselves or their products for commercial purposes by reference to their association with the Games. It includes a company connected with the Commercial Delivery Partner.”
The tax exemption also included all foreign nationals working at the games who paid no income tax on their earnings. No matter what their role at the games, whether as a judge or marshall, media worker or individual team representative – all foreign nationals who worked at the games did so tax-free.
As if that wasn’t bad enough – here comes the news that really will organ-stop your eyes – UEFA got wind of the tax-exemption clause and so the 2011 Champions League final was another venue where foreign players and officials, probably UEFA and sponsors too, were exempted from paying any tax on their earnings or profits. Thus outrageously overpaid millionaire footballers were treated to a tax-free bonanza while playing here.
Funny isn’t it? Only those who have no choice but to be domiciled here seem to be forced to pay tax. Never mind, we’re all in this together – those of us poor enough paying tax that is. I cannot understand why the ordinary taxpayer feels so comfortable with being ripped off like this – why do they implicitly support the fat cats?